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Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 6670, tabled on 22 January 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for (a) Nabilone Savitex, (b) Epidiolex and (c) unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use were dispensed by hospital pharmacies from November 2018 to October 2019.

Answered on

30 January 2020

The average cost to the National Health Service of all prescriptions for unlicensed cannabis-based products dispensed in the community from November 2018 to October 2019 was £2,789.21 per prescription.

The NHS Business Services Authority does not hold data for prescriptions dispensed by hospital pharmacies, including for Nabilone, Sativex, Epidyolex* and unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This information is not held centrally and is not routinely published. Intelligence from NHS England and NHS Improvement Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers is that a low number of patients are receiving prescriptions for cannabis-based products for medicinal use in independent secondary/tertiary care in England. However, this data is not collected nationally or routinely published.

In October 2019, for prescriptions issued by private healthcare specialist prescribers and dispensed in the community, there were no prescriptions for Nabilone, one prescription for Sativex, and 33 prescriptions for unlicensed cannabis-based products.

Finally, there was one prescription for unlicensed cannabis-based products prescribed on the NHS and dispensed in the community in October 2019.


*Epidyolex was unlicensed prior to September 2019; no NHS prescriptions for Epidyolex have been recorded as submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority at the time of this request. Approximately 185 patients have accessed Epidyolex through the manufacturer’s (GW Pharma) early access programmes, ahead of a licensing decision by the European Medicines Agency.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care